Saturday, April 1, 2017

Selling an Academic Mindset: Parents and Teachers Roles!

Selling an Academic Mindset: Parents' and Teachers' Roles! 
Five Traits of an Academic Mindset!
1. They Seek Help and Ask Questions
2. They Seek to Understand the Why!
3. They Actively Listen and Engage in Dialogue to Find Solutions
4. They Have Clear Academic Intentions and Focus on Goals
5. They Find Joy, Bliss, and Enjoyment in Challenges and Learning
Ultimately, there are many different factors that contribute to the
successful education of a child today. As well as the availability of high-quality educational facilities and teachers, the students and parents themselves need to be sold on the goal of pursuing a formal academic education. Once they understand (buy-in) the importance of a positive academic mindset, and they realize it is a long hard difficult path to get an education. The real hard work starts, it will take parents, teachers, and community to complete the goal of getting a quality education. Formal education is, learning new ideas, developing complex skills and deepening knowledge and understanding that that will benefit students in some unimagined future, this idea is not tangible to young minds. Students are supposed to take ownership of their education, work hard, and be intrinsically motivated, right! Students and parents are told and sold they will be in a stronger position when they take control of their education, buy-in, they will achieve the academic results they want to see. That is a hard or impossible sell in our school reform climate today! Yet today, many parents and students have lost hope and faith in getting a formal education, they are opting-out and not buying in!. Furthermore, this is limiting how effective teachers can be these days.
At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents. Jane D. Hull
In today’s world, the description ‘teacher’ is slowly losing its meaning because they aren't allowed the autonomy to teach as they once would. Instead, today teachers are seen as the enemy, "Common Core Taskmasters", and even test prep technicians. School reform in the guise of accountability is creating unneeded frustration for parents and teachers.Teachers are now advocating and promoting education ideals they may not believe in. Having to sell "Academic Rigor", "College and Career Ready", "Common Core", "Race To the Top" , really just more test and punish, the "accountability culture" is impossible when they don't have parents and students on board. The reform driven ideals of Common Core and College and Career Ready are alienating parents teachers, and students. Frustration is not a good starting point for success, it is creating a rift with the stake holders that need to work with each other the most. When parents aren't getting involved with the education of their child, teachers have to take control of the situation and do their best to sell the idea to the adults. When the student doesn’t buy into the idea of education, we get a generation of failed students but who is to blame? In recent years, a huge proportion of the blame has gone directly to teachers because they are the face of education and we feel as though they haven't done well enough to sell the idea to parents and students. However, is this really the case? 

Parent Involvement in Early Childhood
• Children whose parents read to them at home recognize letters of the alphabet and write their names sooner than those whose parents do not.
• Children whose parents teach them how to write words are able to identify letters and connect them to speech sounds.
• Children’s early cognitive development is enhanced by parent supportiveness in play and a supportive cognitive and literacy-oriented environment at home. These advantages often continue into the school years.

• Children in grades K–3 whose parents participate in school activities have good work habits and stay on task.

• Children whose parents provide support with homework perform better in the classroom.
• Children whose parents explain educational tasks are more likely to

Middle and High School
• Adolescents whose parents monitor their academic and social activities have lower rates of delinquency and higher rates of social competence and academic growth. 
• Youth whose parents are familiar with college preparation requirements and are engaged in the application process are most likely to graduate from high school and attend college.
• Youth whose parents have high academic expectations and offer consistent encouragement for college have positive student outcomes. State Laws on Family Engagementin Education National PTA® Reference Guide

Of course, poor school results will instantly draw attention to the people in charge of educating the students (i.e. teachers). If someone kept failing their driving test, you will immediately look towards their driving teacher. Despite the impact the teacher has, you cannot deny that the involvement of the parents can be even larger. From the day the child is born, they look up to their parents for guidance, inspiration, and action. Even as we grow into adults, we still look to them for advice and therefore a certain part of ourselves were molded by parents. When we place blame on teachers, we completely ignore this and blank their role with students. 

“family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of children’s school success, and that families play pivotal roles in their children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development from birth through adolescence.”

Effectively, we are saying ‘parents shouldn't have to worry about selling education to their children because the teachers can do it’ but is this really enough? Sadly, teachers are limited in their involvement with students in today's overcrowded classrooms and they cannot just pick up a magic wand and immediately eliminate all the problems with society. If the parents aren't showing an interest in their child’s education in the first place, the student will suddenly think ‘hang on, what is the point in trying if my parents don’t even care how well I do?’.

Looking ahead, we are coming to a crossroad, we need to see some changes in attitudes about what we really want for our children, and this starts with dialogue, involvement and understanding. Know we have frustrated alienated parents, a teacher shortage and kids opting out! In truth, this could be very dangerous because it builds resentment towards teachers, schools and the whole education system which is the opposite to what we are trying to achieve. If we are to see progress, we need to have the teachers and parents working together once again to sell education to students and make real changes to our education system. Once this can occur, the motivation and inspiration will return and results will be seen by all.

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